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Looking for a 2H Build

First, huge props to both the devs and the content creators out there who have already put forward an astonishing array of builds and guides. I’ve tried many (too many) and I love the complexity and variety available in the game.

But sometimes… sometimes I just want to hit things very hard with a big, dumb sword. There doesn’t seem to be many (any) guides for that play style and I cannot seem to find a viable way of doing that myself.

The best options I can see as a start point are Erasing Strike, or possibly Forge Strike, but they both suffer from being inefficient from a few aspects:

  • Secondary effects which don’t scale with melee damage (Erasing Strike requires spell damage, Forge Strike requires minion damage)
  • High mana cost, meaning you need to have a second zero-cost ability on your bar, which I end up using 90% of the time, due to…
  • Relatively low damage-per-mana (zero cost abilities have higher tooltip DPS than an ability which costs >70 mana!)
  • Big, slow hits seem to suffer more from Monolith affixes (dodge chance, glancing blow chance)

Add to that lower defenses, due to lack of a shield, and lower damage, due to lack of dual-wield, and I just can’t put together a build that can mitigate all the problems I’m facing.

I’d love any guidance the community can offer!

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2H melee weapons are underpowered right now. It’s something the devs have acknowledged and are working on addressing (maybe, possibility .8.2??). I totally feel your pain with Erasing Strike vs. abilities like Rive. I think Sarno mentioned it’s a mix of large mana senders to be underpowered and abilities like Rive which give mana back to be overtuned.

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You do not need to scale spell damage nor minion damage to make those skills worthwhile.

Don’t forget Smelter’s Wrath

2H is not as tanky as a shield of course, but is waaaay tankier than DW, because first you don’t have the increase damage taken trade-off from DW, but you also can use “Less Damage taken from critical strikes” suffix, which will free up up to 3 suffix slots and/or a blessing, because you don’t need critical strike avoidance.

Overall 2H weapons definitely could use a little bit more damage.

But i feel like that many people portray them way worse than they actually are.

I play the majority of my characters 2H actually and i never felt that it not viable, even though not super strong.

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I agree with @Heavy. The 2h weapons aren’t that bad. I sometimes switch between 2h and DW in situations where I face big damage to get around that DW 12% increased damage taken malus.

With a 2h weapon you usually don’t want to go for an ailments build. There is some bleed synergy with 2h Axe in the Forge Guard tree, but I doubt this is working better than the DW Sword/Axe combo with attack speed.

You can build a Warpath 2h build. There are some 2h exclusive nodes on the bottom left side of the tree, including block chance that you now can even buff with affixes on rings. Do a 2h crit Warpath build and you will be fine. You won’t need much support from a mana regenerating skill because you can sustain the spin very well.

Smelters Wrath is a very strong and hard hitting skill that can wipe your entire screen. Its dependant on its channeling time so attack speed loss of 2h won’t be a thing. You might need a mana regen skill like Rive or Vengeance, that you can also build into more support style skills with armour/fire shred on Vengeance or shred and crit chance buff in rive.

Another possible build would be a Judgement Paladin. Although many people don’t like the animation and attack speed.

Primalists Tempest Strike has a fix attack speed that can’t be increased with attack speed, so you would not feel the difference between 1h/DW and 2h in speed. Earthquake is so damn mana hungry that attack speed doesn’t matter. Serpent Strike can only be used with a polearm.

Maybe in the end you will lack some efficiency with a 2h build compared to something else. But if you like the style just play it an be happy. It’s still viable to beat all the content. I personally care more about the style and theme of a character that the last % of efficiency. That’s my personal view on this. Maybe it’s the opposite for you.

All I can suggest is to just try and see if it feels good for you.

Btw, you could play a harvest Lich - she has no option for DW so theres no choice to be made :wink:)

Just ask @Llama8 … He loves his 2handers… :wink:

I think that might be the only option for ailments where a 2h is either comparable or possibly better than DW.

There is also the 2h Rogue build which is absolutely beyond S-tier. Infact it’s so far beyond that it looks like it wraps round. I should probably rework it to use Sync strike.

You can play Primalist, with a Serpent Strike build. It’s nice to play and efficient, and the requested weapon is a Naginata.

2H are not as good currently as Dual Wield but they are still pretty good

I do agree here because all my melee builds generally dont output much mana apart from buffs, ive tried Forge Strike and Erasing and couldnt get them to work due to that reason you mention regarding spamming free skills too long

Ive played with 2H - Rive Void Knight, Smelter’s Wrath Forge Guard, Serpent Strike Beastmaster, Earthquake Werebear with the new 2h Mace, toyed around with other skills in general

Smelter’s Wrath Forge Guard or even another mastery is interesting as the skill can always crit in the tree or you can use Gamblers Fallacy for 100% crit, its the only skill the Sentinel has that Juggernaut stance doesnt have much of a drawback but gives you 50% more armor and other bonus, you do lose 15% movement speed. the playstyle is you just let huge packs follow you and round them up, charge up a huge Smelters Wrath which always crits and usually kills everything in a single hit and you move on. Forge Guard gives you more and more armor on hit so you become tankier and can absorb a lot of damage

The only reason I stopped playing it mainly is it was painful on timeline bosses

Thanks for the replies, everyone. I’ve played a number of the builds people have mentioned here and they are certainly powerful. I was looking particularly for a Sentinel to smack things hard with, but couldn’t find anything that matched the power of what I was already playing.

I guess the theme of the responses has been “It’s not that bad, keep at it, try different things” so I’ll do just that and see if something clicks :slight_smile:

The essence of a whacky 2H build I tried (played on HC and died around 70-75).

Big boy damage skill was Smelters Wrath. Allocated points for the guaranteed crit, more damage per ignite stack, more damage to rares/bosses, and 24% cull.

The supporting cast of skills was Forge Strike, Sigils of Hope, Shield Bash, and Volatile Reversal.

I would stack a bunch of ignites by using Forge Strike with Detonating Ground and the extra ignite chance nodes, Shield Bash with guaranteed 300% ignite chance instead of stun, plus extra ignite chance from the SoH and the ignite/bleed chance nodes from the passive tree (the ones that get doubled when using a 2H). Then I would use SoH to get the bonus melee damage and Volatile Reversal to replenish my mana and use Smelters Wrath. I saw a crit as big as 300k once on he training dummy, and again that was at level 7x, and none of my skills were at 20, so there was definitely room to grow.

Forge Strike provided multiple ignites in one attack, armor shred, global added phys, and a 25% more fire damage buff.

Sigils provided global added melee (after use), flat fire, and ignite chance.

Shield Bash provided a bunch of ignite stacks, and 200% more fire damage on next attack.

Volatile Reversal replenished my mana and gave 30% increased damage taken to the target.

Smelters Wrath gets 150% more damage if they have 10 ignite stacks on them.

I also used the passives from the Forge Guard and Void Knight trees which give big boosts to your next attack every 3 seconds. So, the timing was weird sometimes because you wanted to wait until those were up again before starting to channel Smelters Wrath.

Eventually, I wanted a Sunforged Hammer for another 70% more modifier, plus the crit multi and nice added damage.

That is the essence of my build. It was a little clunky, and I should have made it a bit more tanky, but the damage was there once you got used to the combo. Forge Strike cleared just fine on its own; I only busted out SW on bosses, basically. It was absolutely hilarious if you like big chonky hits.

Actually I’m doing this for my next build since warpath build may have been killed by volatile reversal bug.

Erasing strike, stack base void damage and phys as much as possible from passives and THEN take the attunement/Str. Finally take all MP increase nodes erasing strikes in the skill tree, and last take the crushing blows passive from forge guard for 3% increase per point of mana.

Erasing strike ends up costing like 140+mp so it gets an extra 400% (80 points of str and attunement worth from 6 points in the skill tree) damage added on, and it should apply to both void and melee damage and likely even the beams.

That being said it’s hard to check since the tooltip is bugged and doesn’t show the increase.

Also adding something like lunge to proc increased damage or retaliation to proc higher crit would also be good.

Now for mana recovery I may go the rebuke route and just spam abyssal echos during it or something. Not sure there since in my original plan the mp recovery was going to be volatile reversal x.x. once volatile reversal gets fixed the 9% cooldown per enemy would allow you to just spam erasing strikes on a 2 recall 2 recall 2 recall 2 recall basis if there are more than 10mobs around where you lunged to.

So devouring orb, lunge, rive/retaliation, erasing strike, volatile reversal/rebuke. Will likely be my build.

Now volatile is WAY better than rebuke for this imo, and will massively increase the pace… However I play on HC mode, and VR has an occasional error where it just empties out your mana pool entirely and can even drain your health if your super unlucky… So I can’t really afford that occasional death sentence.